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Date: 06/28/23 01:03
Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

Now that I've been home for a few hours here's some thoughts about the last 12 days. The first thing to say is I enjoyed myself hugely. Temuulan Bakhurel who organises MonRailPic Tours is a very genial host and guide, with an intimate knowledge of Mongolian railway operations, using his radio and his contacts we always knew where trains were and when they were likely to appears, and in what sequence. We drove in a Mitsubishi Delica four wheel drive van, which was just right for thr size of our group - 4 people. Me from the UK, Simon from Czechia, Francois from France and Yutaka from Japan, together with Temuulen and a driver. English is the common language, so monoglot English speakers should be OK. It's full on extreme railfanning with 05:00 starts and sometimes not getting back until 19:30. Breakfast is packed by the accommodation - sausage, cheese, some pickled vegetables, bread. Lunch is likewise on the go, unless there's a lull in railway activities, in which case on two occasions we went to a food court in a supermarket for noodles / pizza / burgers etc. On the days in the Shatan Mountains we mostly had pot noodles, which we'd bought at a local shop, with hot water from a primus stove. The van is well stocked with bottles of water

Accommodation; I suppose it's worth pointing out that Mongolia's tourist infrastructure is not well developed. The hotel in Ulaanbaatar claimed to be three star, personally I'd regard it as 2 star. It was perfectly adequate but no more. In the Shatan Mountains we stayed in what I guess you would describe as a holiday complex in a sort of resort settlement, Bayanbuural. Again it was adequate, Francois and I had single rooms whilst Simon and Yutaka, being the youngest, shared. Bedding and towels are given to you to make the bed up yourself. No toilet paper so best bring your own. But plenty of hot water for showers etc. The yurt camp we stayed in was more traditional, and here we slept three in a yurt which was fine. Bathroom facilities with shower etc were a short walk away, toilet paper was provided. MonRailPic Tour prices incudes an evening meal as well as breakfast. In Ulaanbaatar we ate in a Chinese restaurant called Panda (good) near the station. In the Yurt camp and at Bayanbuural we had evening meal in the dining room of the camp / complex. Mongolian food is pretty plain, meaty soups with vegetables, pancakes or dumplings, usually filled with minced beef or lamb, and rice. It keeps body and soul together but I don't think it would be considered one of the world's great cuisines. But then I didn't come to Mongolia for the food! 

So all in all I thought it was a splendid way to spend almost two weeks, good comnpany and great trains. Here are some shots from my SLR which I've started processing. If you have any questions I'll be happy to try and answer them, alternatively if you are interested contact MonRailPic Tours directly (I think their email is in my first post). I think I shall go on their autumn tour, possibly next year or in 2025, which includes the Gobi Desert which we didn't do this time.

If anyone wants to see more pictures I'm slowly adding them to my SmugMug site.
https://nick86235.smugmug.com/Trains/2023/Mongolia-2023/



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/23 07:30 by 86235.








Date: 06/28/23 01:10
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

You can't take pictures in Mongolia without an animal or two.

The Erdenet to Ulaanbaatar overnight train emerging from the mist at 6 a.m. in Shatan

Hard class on the Suukhbaatar to Ulaanbaatar train








Date: 06/28/23 01:14
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

This lad rode up to us whilst we were having one of our primus stove lunches. No saddle just a bridle. He agreed to pose when we heard this 2TE25 Grasshopper approach

Passengers awaiting the arrival of the Sukhbaataar bound day train

Boarding



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/23 01:24 by 86235.








Date: 06/28/23 01:27
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

On Wednesday 21st this 2TE116UM crosses the Kharaa River whilst a couple of lads splash happily around in the water. The Kharaa is the tributary of another river which itself empties into Lake Baikal.

The horseshoe curve at Honhor

Climbing the Bayan Pass, one of the S curves.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/28/23 01:29 by 86235.








Date: 06/28/23 04:20
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: lne655

Thanks for posting this series, I enjoyed it very much.



Date: 06/28/23 04:59
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: dpudave

I totally agree. This and an earlier series offer a fascinating look into a land most of us will never see. Of course, I have questions: when you say "hard class," are you being ironic, descriptive or is it semi official railroad language? And I'm always interested in food related issues. You mention Primus stoves and earlier, a restaurant car. How do they interact, if they do, and what's on the menu? Again, wonderful series. What an adventure you had and it's great you shared a bit of it with us. d



Date: 06/28/23 05:04
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: dpudave

Sorry, upon rereading, I see you covered food issues quite extensively. Senior moment. d



Date: 06/28/23 06:53
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

dpudave Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Of course, I have questions: when you
> say "hard class," are you being ironic,
> descriptive or is it semi official railroad
> language?

No, not being ironic. That's the description, it goes back to former USSR days. First and Second class was replaced by Soft and Hard. And that's perpetuated in countries like Mongolia which were once Soviet satellites. Even in China today descriptions of classes of travel include soft seats, hard seats, soft sleeper, hard sleeper.



Date: 06/28/23 08:05
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: King_Coal

Fine series. I particularly like photo 5.



Date: 06/28/23 11:49
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: symph1

86235 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> dpudave Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Of course, I have questions: when you
> > say "hard class," are you being ironic,
> > descriptive or is it semi official railroad
> > language?
>
> No, not being ironic. That's the description, it
> goes back to former USSR days. First and Second
> class was replaced by Soft and Hard. And that's
> perpetuated in countries like Mongolia which were
> once Soviet satellites. Even in China today
> descriptions of classes of travel include soft
> seats, hard seats, soft sleeper, hard sleeper.

Are you sure about that? I've ridden Shanghai-Xi'an, Shanghai-Chengdu, Shanghai-Beijing, etc. My memory says 2nd class/first class/business class, with business class being superior to first class.
 



Date: 06/28/23 11:59
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

symph1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Are you sure about that? I've ridden
> Shanghai-Xi'an, Shanghai-Chengdu,
> Shanghai-Beijing, etc. My memory says 2nd
> class/first class/business class, with business
> class being superior to first class.

Yep, looking at the Summer 2023 timetable as I type. Do you know the prefix of the trains you have travelled on? T and K trains have hard and soft seats and sleepers.



Date: 06/28/23 15:49
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: Ritzville

Excellent and enjoyable series!!

Larry



Date: 06/29/23 11:40
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: symph1

86235 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> symph1 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Are you sure about that? I've ridden
> > Shanghai-Xi'an, Shanghai-Chengdu,
> > Shanghai-Beijing, etc. My memory says 2nd
> > class/first class/business class, with business
> > class being superior to first class.
>
> Yep, looking at the Summer 2023 timetable as I
> type. Do you know the prefix of the trains you
> have travelled on? T and K trains have hard and
> soft seats and sleepers.
Don't know the prefex, but these were pretty fast trains, HSR for sure.See this thread, page 2, for pictures. https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,5390248,5390526#msg-5390526
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/23 11:43 by symph1.



Date: 06/29/23 14:23
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: pedrop

Picture 12 is beautiful. The grade looks big in bolth directions. Any idea of the % there? Congrats for the picture of the day.

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano MG,
https://youtube.com/c/minasgeraisrailways1



Date: 06/29/23 14:40
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: ParkSouth

GREAT!!!
Tom Klinger



Date: 06/29/23 15:00
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 86235

pedrop Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Picture 12 is beautiful. The grade looks big in
> bolth directions. Any idea of the % there?
> Congrats for the picture of the day.

Thanks it's about 2.5,%



Date: 06/29/23 17:33
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: DFWJIM

Wow...great photo lineup. Beautiful and harsh land.



Date: 06/29/23 20:18
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: dwatry

Excellent photos!

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/30/23 16:10
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: 1019X

Fantastic photos! Beautiful landscape although I imagine the winters there are long and cold. Are locomotives you refer to as the "Grasshoppers" designed as a two unit locomotive with a drawbar connecting them or are they designed as single units which are logically operated back to back on trains so as to avoid the need to turn them?
Charlie



Date: 07/01/23 19:12
Re: Mongolia - thoughts
Author: Latebeans

This may be the best trip documentary that I've yet seen on TO.    I really liked the photos of the family waiting on the rudimentary platform to board the train.   It looks like a fascinating place.



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